Everyone now knows what the Jets are doing with the second overall pick in the NFL draft. Even GM Joe Douglas has admitted they’re taking a quarterback. And it’s an open secret that BYU’s Zach Wilson is their guy.
But that isn’t the only future starter they’ll be able to add on the first night of the draft. They stand to get a pretty good player when they make the 23rd selection, too.
Who are they going to take there? There are a lot of possibilities at several different positions. Here’s a look at a few of the players they likely will consider if they’re still there:
Northwestern CB Greg Newsome II – The 6-foot, 192-pounder is likely to be the fourth cornerback off the board, which means he’ll probably be there for the Jets. That’s good, because scouts see him as an ideal fit in the Cover 3 scheme Robert Saleh likes his defenses to play. He’s fast and reliable and would instantly be the Jets’ best cornerback.
Virginia Tech CB Caleb Farley – For a long time the question with this 6-1, 207-pounder would be the first or second cornerback taken. But he opted out of the 2020 season and recently had a surgical procedure on his back that kept him from participating in his Pro Day. He’s still incredibly talented with a lot of upside, but he might not be ready for Day 1, which could cause him to drop.
South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn – He’s big (6-1, 205) and fast and was as disruptive as any cornerback in college football. When he dazzled at his Pro Day, including a 4.39 in the 40, he probably ensured he won’t last this long. There are questions, though. As talented as he is, he only had three interceptions over 19 games the past two years.
Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw – He’s a powerful run blocker, even though the 6-4, 315-pounder is considered a notch below the top tackles in the draft. Whether he gets to 23 may depend on how quickly the run on first-round tackles happen. But if he gets this far, he could the bookend-of-the future the Jets need on the right side of their line.
Oklahoma State OT Tevin Jenkins – The possibility of this 6-5, 310-pounder going in the first round is gaining some traction, though it’s debatable whether he belongs there or in the top of the second round. It’s also debatable whether his best position in the NFL will be at guard or at right tackle. Either way, though, he’d fill a big need for the Jets.
Georgia LB Azeez Ojulari – He looks like more of a 3-4 linebacker than a 4-3 defensive end, but at 6-2, 249 he’s really not that much different than the Jets’ newest defensive end, Carl Lawson (6-2, 260). He’s an awesome athlete with the necessary speed and strength. He also had 9 ½ sacks last season and 12 ½ tackles for loss. He could be an immediate situational pass rusher to take some of the pressure off Lawson from the other side.
Penn State DE/LB Jayson Oweh – At 6-5, 257, he fits the part of a 4-3 end better, and he showed at his Pro Day that he’s an absolute freak of an athlete. Scouts love him and his potential. So what could keep him around to 23? He had zero sacks in seven games last season. That’s a big red flag for some.
Miami DE/LB Gregory Rousseau – There are some who consider the 6-7, 260-pounder to be the best pass rusher in the draft, and others that just aren’t that sure about him. He was the consensus best before he opted out of the 2020 season. Most scouts seem to think he could’ve used another season in college, so there’s potential here but he may need some time.
Alabama RB Najee Harris – The Jets need a No. 1 running back for their new, run-heavy offensive system, and this 6-1, 232-pounder could be an ideal fit. He runs hard, gets the tough yards, and has been very productive with 2,690 yards and 39 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He’s been a good receiver out of the backfield too (70 catches, 729 yards, 11 touchdowns). He could be the power to the the flash of La’Mical Perine and Tevin Coleman.
Clemson RB Travis Etienne – If he wasn’t so much smaller (5-10, 215) he might be considered just as good as Harris by most. He was just as productive for the Tigers, was equally as good as a receiver. He might be a little more elusive, though, and less of a straight-ahead runner. He’d help the Jets in the same way, though. He’d be their much-needed No. 1 back in their multi-back attack.